Paul Wolfowitz is typically described as “the chief architect of the Iraq war.” The chief architect, according one of the British papers released today, acknowledged before the war that the threat of Iraqi weapons had not progressed enough to justify an attack, but decided to hype the evidence anyways because he thought the American public would buy it.
In a memo written about a meeting he had with then-Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, Ambassador Christopher Meyer wrote that Wolfowitz de-emphasized the importance of the WMD argument for attacking Iraq. Meyer said, “[Wolfowitz] took a slightly different position from others in the Administration, who were focused on Saddam’s capacity to develop weapons of mass destruction Wolfowitz thought it indispensable to spell out in detail Saddam’s barbarism.”
Wolfowitz admitted in May 2003 that the WMD justification for attacking Iraq was merely pretense. In a Vanity Fair interview, Wolfowitz said: “For bureaucratic reasons we settled on one issue, weapons of mass destruction, because it was the one reason everyone could agree on.”
Despite knowing the threat of Iraqi WMDs was not imminent, Wolfowitz hyped the threat to sell the war:
Wolfowitz: “Iraq presents a case of direct threat to the security of the United States and our allies and a key to the future of one of the most important regions in the world The simple truth is, disarming Iraq and fighting the war on terror are not merely related; disarming Iraq’s arsenal of terror is a crucial part of winning the war on terror.” [Wolfowitz testimony, House Budget Committee, 2/27/03]
Wolfowitz: “Disarming Iraq’s arsenal of terror is a crucial part of winning the war on terror.” [Speech to Commonwealth Club, 12/6/02]